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HP Wants To Become Apple. WebOS Is The Key - Interesting Read.

Discussion in 'Technology' started by glych t.anomaly, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    HP Wants To Become Apple. WebOS Is The Key

    In season 1 of AMC’s hit show Mad Men, Rachel Menken comes to the advertising firm Sterling Cooper because she wants to give her department store, Menken’s, a makeover, so to speak. She wants to transform it from a successful department store into an elite one. “What kind of people do you want [coming into your store]?,” Creative Director Don Draper asks Menken. “I want your kind of people Mr. Draper. People who don’t care about coupons — whether or not they can afford it. People who come into the store because it is expensive,” Menken replies.

    Based on what we’re hearing, HP has been having similarly themed meetings in recent months. They want to transform themselves — from HP, the successful tech juggernaut, into Apple, the sexy one.

    When you think of HP, what do you think of? For most consumers it’s either printers and sort of crappy, cheap computers that you get at Best Buy. But that’s not what HP aspires to be anymore, sources familiar with HP’s thinking are telling us. They want to be Apple. They want be the makers of high-quality consumer gadgets all connected by way of a digital ecosystem. An ecosystem they own and operate. One tied together by webOS.

    While it should hardly be surprising to hear that any company wants to be Apple given that company’s recent success, HP is one of a very few — and actually maybe the only company with the required assets to potentially pull off such a makeover. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to — but it’s possible. And they know that, and that’s exactly what their strategy is going forward, apparently.

    On the face of it, it may not seem to make a lot of sense. After all, HP makes nearly double the revenue that Apple does each quarter. But despite this, it’s Apple that actually makes more profit. And it’s Apple that has more than double the market cap of HP. In the eyes of investors, Apple is the up-and-coming rockstar, HP is the aging one. And they’re closely tied to their counterpart, Microsoft, who is also seen as aging.

    And that’s what HP is trying to break away from.

    WebOS is the key to all of this. It’s the software layer that HP’s hardware has been lacking — forcing them to go with Microsoft instead. But the Palm acquisition in April changed all of that. From the moment that happened, HP has made no secret that the reason for the deal was to “double-down” on webOS.

    Just listen to what HP executive Todd Bradley had to say today at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, CO. “I think you’ll see us with a family of slate products, clearly Microsoft for the enterprise, and a webOS product,” Bradley said. “Our focus is working with still our largest software partner, Microsoft, to create a tablet, a slate, for the enterprise business,” he continued. What he’s doing there is carefully positioning HP’s relationship with Microsoft on new products going forward as being focused on the enterprise side of things. Previously, it was stated HP would do a Windows-powered slate for consumers. That is no longer the case. That tablet will be built to run webOS.

    Does that mean HP is going to ditch Windows altogether anytime soon? Of course not. As the largest maker of PCs, HP is Microsoft’s largest customer. But for the new products HP is planning, it’s going to be all webOS. And on the desktop side of things, they’re working on webOS-syncing software that will run on Windows (and Macs), we hear. So again, they’re basically trying to recreate the ecosystem that Apple has.

    HP executive Jon Rubinstein (the CEO of Palm) also confirmed at the same event today that webOS 2.0 is coming later this year. This new version is likely to be the first one that will start to tie all of these HP products together.

    Speaking of Rubinstein, his pedigree here can’t be overlooked. He was the executive at Apple in charge of the iPod until he left in 2006. He’s the one who oversaw the framework for the ecosystem Apple has in place today. There was some talk leading up to the Palm acquisition if Rubinstein would stay or go — he’s apparently onboard with this new “let’s turn HP into Apple” idea. That shouldn’t be surprising given that this was the basic strategy at Palm with the Pre.

    But Palm failed simply because they didn’t have the resources to do what they wanted to do (challenge Apple’s iPhone directly). HP does — and then some. And while HP is not a player in the mobile space right now, they plan to be once again with webOS.

    From what we’re hearing, HP wants to create a seamless experience for all of their hardware. That’s PCs to notebooks to netbooks to tablets to mobile phones to printers. And they want to do so with a much more controlled product line than they’ve previously had. They want to move towards more premium products, ones with higher margins. That will make the profits go up, just as it has with Apple.

    Of course, whether or not HP can make any of this happen is a pretty big “if.” One obvious problem with them being Apple is that they don’t have their own retail stores, like Apple does. HPs are sold everywhere from Best Buy to Costco, but those stores tend to attract people looking for bargains. And those that aren’t, buy Macs there.

    Second, HP’s strategy in mobile phones will meet resistance not only from the iPhone, but from Google’s Android phones. But Google appears to be positioning Android as the sort-of Windows of the smartphone era. That is, they’re all about getting their software as widely distributed as possible. Like Microsoft with PCs, Google don’t make their own hardware for Android (though they had a hand in designing the Nexus One, which is all but dead now). HP would be making its own hardware to run webOS. Again, like Apple.

    Android also poses a potential threat in the tablet field. But again, Google won’t be making this hardware. As I said at the beginning, because HP is a hardware maker that just happened to purchase a great piece of software in webOS, they have a shot at pulling off what Apple has. Whereas most other rivals, even Google, cannot. Android may be ubiquitous by this time next year, but the experience won’t be as seamless as it is within Apple’s ecosystem. And, HP hopes, their ecosystem. As Apple has proven, people are willing to pay a premium for that.

    This is HP’s big bet on the future. They’re betting on the Apple way. And that’s the right way for them to bet because they’re a hardware company. With a shift towards mobile starting to take place, as well as new products like tablets starting to rise, HP seems smart to get ahead of this trend. They’re not Microsoft or Google where profits are in licenses and advertising, respectively. With the webOS buy, they’re much closer to Apple. The profits there are in premium products, buoyed by the seamless ecosystem.

    That’s where HP is heading.


    i am really excited to see what HP does with webOS, and the hardware behind it, how they plan on giving a complete experience across all hardware platforms :)

    if they became a distributor of quality products, backed by their own hardware and using their own software, they could potentially do what google has been trying to do with android, what apple is already doing !

    exciting times.

  2. rawd

    rawd TRIBE Member

  3. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    have you used webOS at all?

    its pretty damn sexy, its just not on any hardware i would purchase which is too bad.

    and they easily have the money and assets to actually transform the quality of their products.

    and competition is only good for the consumer.

  4. dstarr

    dstarr TRIBE Member

    This is going to be good!

    Apple needs some competition and I agree that this will be good for the consumer. I have always felt that hp understood the design side of things pretty well and I just hope they can deliver in terms of user experience.

    I think the big question mark will be if they can market these new products properly because when I think about Apple, it's the fact that they pull together resources well to create a great experience from marketing through to the devices.

    I haven't really owned many HP devices but some people who have have complained about quality and I think you need to build stuff that's pretty rock solid to compete with Apple (iPhone 4 antenna issues aside and I think the big issue was the way Apple handled it).
  5. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    agreed, i believe if HP is going to make this change, and try to become a more marketable company, they will have to vamp up the quality, and innovation of their products, have them as they are talking about work across the board, sync, cloud, etc and provide sexy hardware for the experience.

  6. Dialog

    Dialog TRIBE Member

    HP has a piss-poor track record of consumer electronics beyond netbooks. Word is lots of Palm people have left after the buyout. WebOS will only go so far if HP isn't prepared to make it work.

    Of course Apple needs competition. You'd have thought Microsoft might have attempted to do so, but the fallout over the Kin, Microsoft's single biggest blunder to date (at a time when Windows 7's success indicated they'd turned a corner) is revealing just how deep their structural problems lie. Here's hoping HP has taken notes and a lot of the wrong internal people, politics and agendas won't be getting in the way of this effort's genuine fighting chance.
  7. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    the key to the mobile market has always been consumer based innovations. This is where HP has been flailing for a long time. Unfortunately WebOS is not particularly innovative when compared to Android or iOS and without a massive overhaul and tonne of R&D it will remain more of a niche product than anything else.

    Right now in order to become Apple or even compete with Apple in that marketshare you have to out innovate them in the consumers eyes.

    Given Apple's track record of being able to put ordinary shit on a stick and sell it as a candy apple for twice the price, it's going to be a tough sell.
  8. atomic

    atomic TRIBE Member

    If this is HP's position to become "more like Apple", the destination to failure is inevitable.

    Competition is healthy for any industry, but to suggest that HP can become anything like Apple is a joke. Tech companies ought to innovate in their own right and stop trying to duplicate a company that already has plans 5 steps ahead of what everyone else is thinking. Kinda like the Joker in TDK.

    Apple's current success of late is the fruits of decades of development in design and function. The principles have never changed.

    HP et al. might want to read Fast Company's article to get an idea. Hell, even the editor of FC wants his magazine to be like "The Apple of business media".
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  9. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    we may be taking the articles statement

    ' HP wants to be Apple ' a little to literally.

    for a company to decide hey, lets design more ' quality ' products, and in doing so, we will also provide a link (cloud based storage, multiple sync options etc) from Desktop and Laptop computers to the Tablets, and mobile devices, printers etc.

    instead of taking over the market and pushing Apple aside, them striving just to ' keep up ' in the sense of being possibly the only other company to provide Hardware and Software that they own outright to the consumer, is quite possible.

    two issues can come from that though.

    will people pay more for the ' quality ' HP products, and will they be able to market themselves, and acquire the consumer base to actually make a difference in the global race for economic dominion?

    Being Apple is a fun thing to say, but far harder to do. but HP have been doing this for a LOOOOONNGGG time, and they make more money than Apple across the board.

    so if the shift does happen internally at the company, and they still have people there with innovation and talent, then we may see an ' alternative ' to buying Apple products , that is actually not that bad comparatively.

    regardless, stuff like this makes me happy that the drive and determination to make a company better is not gone.

    Apple do make quality products, but for me, i dont see any reason to own anymore more than i already do , due to the limitations and what i see as lack of innovation in their ' Best Selling ' Products.

    i gladly welcome old players and new players to the mix, so that hopefully one of them will see where Apple is falling short for what ' I ' require as a consumer, and will provide something im willing to buy, vs just look at with disdain.

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  10. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    HP not making Windows Phone 7 devices, focusing on webOS instead.

    HP not making Windows Phone 7 devices, focusing on webOS instead -- Engadget

    No big surprise here, but HP Personal Systems Group VP Todd Bradley just flat-out confirmed to CNBC that HP will not be making any Windows Phone 7 devices, preferring instead to focus on the newly-acquired webOS for its line of smartphones. Here's the entire exchange:


    Q: Can you make webOS successful with developers when you're selling Windows Phone 7, maybe Android or Linux at the same time?

    A: We continue to be Microsoft's biggest customer, and we continue to believe we will drive innovation with Microsoft. At the same time, I think it's clear to say, that we're very focused on the customer, and giving the customer the experience that's important to them. We won't do -- will not do a Linux / Android phone. We won't do a Microsoft phone.

    Q: So no Windows Phone 7?

    A: We will continue to more broadly deliver the webOS-based phones that are in the market today, and Jon and his team have driven a strong roadmap for the future.

    Q: So does that mean you're going webOS only for phones?

    A: For smartphones it does. Our intent is to focus those resources and really make webOS the best OS it can be.

    That's a big ouch for Microsoft -- it has to sting when your biggest customer turns its back on your fledgling mobile efforts -- but we can't exactly see HP spending a billion dollars on Palm only to turn around and support multiple platforms.

    There is a small silver lining for Microsoft, though -- Bradley also reiterated that HP's tablet plans aren't so locked in, and once again hinted that the Windows 7-based HP Slate has become an enterprise product, which is at least better than being killed off entirely.

    Lose some, lose some slightly less, we suppose.


    see stuff like this makes me hopeful we will actually see a slew of quality webOS device in the future, and something that will be able to compete in the market.

  11. atomic

    atomic TRIBE Member

    Yeah I just get irked when people say they want their company to be like Apple. I hear it all the time. Jobs is obviously very specific in how he steers his ship, and has spent careful consideration to creating unified user experiences so people can simply focus on getting shit done. It's culminated in a powerful brand that people actually love. Not too many technology companies are afforded that sentiment.

    As an aside, that's why I also get irked when people dismiss that Apple could put shit on a stick and it would sell to the poor, ignorant masses of sheep. Nothing could be further from the truth. If they started dishing out inferior product it would damage the brand they've been so careful to nurture. Just because they don't have the current highest megapixel count is quite frankly, not as important as what the whole package brings to the individual- especially if they were first to mass-market in devices that we use ubiquitously, and they often are.

    From a personal experience, my previous smartphone was an HTC Touch running Windows Mobile 6. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a POS that was. And I can tell you, it sure damaged my perception of the hardware and software.

    So to all this, HP can generate all the revenue they'd like, but most certainly have their work cut out for them to create a brand that people love. The original article states that the consumer perception of their brand is printers and crappy PC's.

    It is very interesting that HP is starting to sever ties with the MS OS, especially at a time when Microsoft seems to have completely overhauled WinMobile 7.

    So yes, times are interesting and I agree that competition is good. I just wish that if Apple's competitors really want to separate themselves from the pack, they should take one single lesson from Apple, which is to look back to their 1997 marketing campaign to "Think Different".
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010

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